Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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Trulon is a card-based role-playing game with a bit of a steampunk aesthetic. Cool card combat system notwithstanding, it has many of the hallmarks of traditional role-playing games from older console generations - though it's a more streamlined experience, clocking in at under ten hours or so. Although I appreciate that Trulon isn't filled with a bunch of tedious fetch quests or other artificial game lengtheners, it doesn't really let itself explore its world or its characters as much as a longer game might, which ultimately leaves the game feeling a bit lacking.
Storywise, Trulon is nothing special. It focuses on a protagonist from humble beginnings, who quickly falls in-line with a typical cast of characters as they uncover a plot that threatens the world. To control these heroes on their quest players simply tap on the screen to guide them in the overworld, and can tap and drag cards in the combat sequences.
The most novel thing about Trulon is definitely its card-based combat. Unlike what feels like the zillions of "card-based RPGs" flat grind-fests that are an excuse to pass time and collect things, Trulon has a set of cards that seem very intentionally rolled out throughout the course of the game that players have to build decks with to set up particular strategies. To reinforce this, Trulon is built so that players can't just wade through card after card until they draw the right thing. Instead, each battle starts by dealing four cards for each character, a basic attack card, and a sort of "wild card" that any character can play. Of all of these cards only the "wild card" is replaceable with something new, but only after it has been played. This system can ocassionally stack the deck against players, but for the most part the result is a challenging and compelling combat system that makes fighting enemies feel particularly weighty and satisfying.
The real shame of Trulon's gameplay comes when looking at just about everything that isn't the combat. As mentioned above, the narrative is very well-worn territory. Towns in the game are full of NPCs that have practically nothing useful or interesting to say, and thecharacters stay true to their archetypes with little to no deviation. With the lack of appropriate force to drive the combat, Trulon grows tiresome at around its mid-point, which could be as early as 3 hours in for some players though your mileage may vary.
Trulon is a neat set of combat rules wrapped in a pretty lackluster package. The good thing about this is that none of its trappings overstay their welcome due to the brief playtime, but having everything end swiftly doesn't exactly help it, either.